No Iftar party at Rashtrapati Bhavan this year

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Rashtrapati Bhavan. (File Photo: IANS)

NEW DELHI – After nearly a decade, Rashtrapati Bhavan will not host an Iftar party this year with President Ram Nath Kovind stating that there should no religious observance at taxpayer’s expense at the public building.

“After the President took office in July 2017, he directed Rashtrapati Bhavan being a public building, there would be no religious observances at taxpayer expense. This is in keeping with the principles of a secular state and applies to all festivities, irrespective of religion,” Ashok Tandon, Press Secretary to the President, said in a tweet.

He said that the President wishes all fellow citizens on all major religious festivals.

“Officials and employees living in the President’s Estate premises are absolutely free to celebrate any religious festival of their choice in the privacy of their homes. President’s Estate has religious institutions, such as a temple, a gurdwara and a masjid, erected by and for residents. On major festive occasions, the President does visit these to wish people. For example, he recently visited the masjid to mark the holy month of Ramadan,” he added.

Officials said that Iftar parties have been traditionally hosted at the Rashtrapati Bhavan except during the term of A.P.J. Abdul Kalam (2002-2007).